No one knew what to expect from the Bears defense against the Jets without Khalil Mack. After all, the Chicago unit had been recently reeling following poor performances against Miami and New England. As it turns out, rookie Sam Darnold and the Jets were no match for a motivated Bears defense. That was in part due to a stellar pass rushing day for Leonard Floyd.
On 29 pass rushing snaps against the Jets, Floyd pressured Darnold a season-high six times according to Pro Football Focus. It is perhaps no coincidence that the 26-year-old outside linebacker only dropped into coverage once the entire afternoon, paving the way for a day where he could pin his ears back against Darnold. At this point, even six pressures is a nice bar to clear for a player rumored to be on the trade block. If Floyd keeps creating pressures in this fashion, the sacks will eventually come in bunches.
Elsewhere defensively, Bryce Callahan and Kyle Fuller continued a recent hot streak. A poor Jets’ receiving corps was no match for the Bears’ top boundary and nickel cornerbacks. Between the two of them, Callahan and Fuller allowed three total catches for 52 yards. Callahan by himself had three pass deflections. If the 27-year-old slot man continues this play level through the rest of the 2018 season, the Bears are going to be forced to really pony up for one of their best defensive talents.
Offensively, it was a grind for the Bears’ offense for much of the afternoon. Mitchell Trubisky and company finished very strong, but did not have a red zone snap until more than halfway through the third quarter. Part of Trubisky and the offense’s rhythmic struggles continued to stem from Trubisky’s issues against the blitz.
The book is out on the young quarterback as New York sent extra blitzers on 17 of Trubisky’s 35 drop backs. Trubisky was only 6-of-13 for 128 yards and a touchdown on these respective plays. Those numbers are heavily inflated by Tarik Cohen’s 70-yard screen score. Trubisky is progressing, but until he solves his issues against extra pass pressure, it’s easy to foresee even more future slow starts for the young quarterback. Against the Jets of the world, that performance will suffice. Against an upcoming divisional slate, Trubisky needs to improve and play a solid full 60 minutes.
In a smaller offensive note, Bears rookie second rounder James Daniels allowed three pass rush pressures in his first full start in place of Eric Kush. A fourth was nullified by a penalty. Nothing too concerning for a 21-year-old rookie that ultimately played fine in taking on a heavier load for the first time.
Robert is the Editor-in-chief of The Blitz Network (subscribe here!), the managing editor of Windy City Gridiron, and writes for a host of other fine publications. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.